'Cavalleria Rusticana' and 'I Pagliacci'
at New Zealand Opera,
enjoyed by HOWARD SMITH
Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci have been opera's twin household names in the repertory for generations.
Yet co-productions of these unidentical, red-blooded 'verismo' musical dramas are thin on the ground.
Paradoxically their respective composers, Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) and Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919), had little in common other than their respective and only successes in these two operas: stories of common people with their foibles and passions.
In a rare burst of costly bravado, NBR New Zealand Opera chose to produce the twin works back to back with separate casts featuring international principals plus English guest director Mike Ashman and Slovak conductor Oliver von Dohnányi, director of State Opera, Prague (a pupil of Václav Neumann and Otmar Suitner); in constant worldwide demand.
A little saving may have been worked by set designer John Parker with his versatile uniform staging; the exception -- an eye-popping proscenium arch descended from the stage right 'fly' gallery in Pagliacci...
Copyright © 1 September 2011
Masterton, New Zealand